Hayne Plane on New York consortium’s radar
Mon 16 Oct, 2017, 8:26am
John Davidson, AAP
An aspiring rugby league club in New York has set its sights on NRL superstar Jarryd Hayne as its first marquee signing ahead of a proposed 2019 launch.
The New York City Rugby League consortium is following in the footsteps of the Toronto Wolfpack and has lodged a bid to play in the Rugby Football League’s (RFL) professional tier in England.
Founders of the New York club hope to get the go-ahead to enter at Championship level, just one step away from Super League.
Like Toronto, which has signed former NRL players such as Fuifui Moimoi, Dave Taylor and Ashton Sims, the New York bid wants to attract prominent NRL talent.
Two former Australian internationals, one a prop and the other a back, have already been approached to play for the new club in 2019.
Bid co-founder Ricky Wilby has confirmed that Gold Coast fullback and ex-NFL running back Hayne is one of their targets.
“Jarryd Hayne would a perfect signing for a team in New York given his background in the NFL, given his love of American sports, given the profile he has in Australia,” Wilby said.
“He would be a perfect fit. I’ve not spoken to Jarryd, but I would love to. It would great to meet with his agent and discuss a way forward.”
Hayne is represented by veteran agent Wayne Beavis.
Wilby said the New York bid is backed by an unnamed investor who has promised PS4.3 million ($A7.2m) in initial funds for the club for the first two years and then more investment if required.
All of the visiting teams’ flights and accommodation costs from the UK will be covered by the New York club.
The new franchise is looking to play its home games at Red Bull Arena, which hosts Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls and has a capacity of 25,000 spectators.
Wilby said the New York club would be based full-time in the American city, unlike the Wolfpack, which is based partly in Yorkshire, and play two games at home and then two games away.
“Toronto being accepted has given the game over here (in the UK) a big shot in the arm,” he said.
"We looked at their model and there’s certain aspects that we could improve.
“We wanted to base our team in New York and give, not only players, but fans an experience.”
“We want to bring rugby league to a massive sports market.”